New Sub Rooms initiative aims to help safeguard town’s cultural economy
Stroud Sub Rooms is heading up an important new town-wide initiative which the team, with the support of Stroud Town Council, hope will help to safeguard the future of the town’s vibrant cultural economy.
The initiative, which is being trialed in the historic venue, will eventually see a team of volunteers mobilised across the town to support the dozens of popular festivals and events that the popular little market town holds through the year.
Hugh Phillimore, Sub Rooms volunteer director said: “We know that 1000s of people visit Stroud every year because of the brilliant town’s reputation for art, music, spoken word and numerous other fantastic events and those people are vital to our town’s economy.
“With the uncertain future hovering over the UK due to the current global pandemic there are growing concerns for the impact of COVID19 on businesses and the High Street economy. But by bringing together a bit of ‘people power’ – those whose commitment, energy and passion can make anything possible – we hope to ensure that our cultural community remains in tact during this worrying time, so that when possible we can welcome people back to our town, and our businesses.”
The ground-breaking project was proposed by a team of Stroud event organisers after realising that, due to their popularity, strain was being put on a small team of volunteers to sustain the tourist attracting events.
Event organiser Sarah Phaedre Watson, who has previously worked with several of the festivals in the town said that by rallying together the town could potentially save venues and cultural organisations that might otherwise disappear for good.
“It’s fantastic that the town council has agreed to support this venture,” Sarah said. “Stroud is renowned for welcoming people to enjoy our arts, heritage and creativity and all of that not only contributes to the well-being of our residents and communities – but it also underpins our town’s economy – contributing an estimated £1million to small businesses. At least!”
The grant from Stroud Town Council has funded the short term role of a volunteer coordinator for the town, and Heather Massey – who has decades of experience in volunteer and community project support – began work at the beginning of September to build the project from The Sub Rooms.
Heather will initially focus on building a team of volunteers to work within The Subs, but by the end of her contract she will also present a feasibility report to present to Stroud Town councillors to assess how the project can be rolled out across the town.
Volunteers who would like to contribute to preserving Stroud’s cultural offering are invited to contact Heather who will be recruiting a team to help welcome people back into the building at the heart of the town for their much-anticipated exhibition Everything is Light, during October and November this year.
People with a variety of skills, with varying amounts of time available, are invited to come forward now to support this exciting new project, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.